THE 2016-17 EDMONTON OILERS: SLOW TRAIN COMING

The Edmonton Oilers remain a marriage of clusters, with the Connor McDavid cluster gaining in size and momentum with each passing month. The cluster with players in their prime is about the same as a year ago, but there has been a tremendous shakeup in its style and form—one of the key changes over the summer. Finally, the team remains incomplete but is maddeningly close—only a Chad Johnson, a Cody Franson and a Jonathan Marchessault away from the balance photo. It may happen during the season, but does not look like it will come by mid-October. Let’s look under the hood.

YEAR OVER YEAR

OILERS YEAR OVER YEAR GD

I have the Oilers improving significantly—this will be a better team—with about 63 percent of the overall progress being offensive. I think the power play will make up a big portion of the GF improvement, and coverage defensively will be the reason for the GA going down. The major reasons for optimism:

  • Connor McDavid should be healthy
  • There have been improvements up the middle
  • Cam Talbot is a good starting goalie—55 or so starts should be substantial
  • The schedule is more inviting
  • Injuries across the board should have less of an impact

THE MCDAVID CLUSTER

mcdavid cluster

This is all players in the 5-year window 18-22, with McDavid, Draisaitl and Puljujarvi representing a tremendous future. It would be fabulous to see Yakupov, Nurse and Reinhart step forward as actual NHL players this coming season—and I hold out hope for all three men. It is a tough damn league to survive in, let alone progress. I think all of them have the talent to make it. Each of Khaira, Caggiula and Slepyshev may be able to solidify jobs in a support role and for Slepyshev this is probably a damned important year. This is the future—and the present.

THE PRIME CLUSTER

PRIME RE 16-17

This is a fascinating part of the roster, and an area of real change by Peter Chiarelli. The prime players in this cluster a year ago were Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oscar Klefbom and Justin Schultz. Hall and Schultz are gone from this cluster, with Adam Larsson added. Brandon Davidson has emerged year over year and looks like he could be a big part of the future. Several of these names are looking at vital seasons in their respective careers: If a player is 23-25 and not yet established, time is running out.

THE VETERAN CLUSTER

VETERANS CLUSTER

This is an increasingly important group under Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan. If we can agree that the most important positions (skaters) are the top two lines, 3C, and the top two pairings—then this cluster will account for as much as 44 percent of the overall roster. Chiarelli has added all but Pouliot, Fayne and Hendricks—and suspect he recognizes their importance. Gone from last year’s veteran cluster are Teddy Purcell, Nikita Nikitin, Lauri Korpikoski and Eric Gryba. Andrew Ference remains on the roster but it is unlikely we see him in a game this year.

GOALIE CLUSTER

GOALIE CLUSTER 16-17

I am onside with Talbot, but remain perplexed by the free-agent addition. I suspect the Oilers have plans for Laurent Brossoit that involve playing much of the 2016-17 season in the NHL.

THE 2016-17 OILERS

  • Final record: 82GP, 38-36-8 84PTS
  • Finish: No. 5 in the Pacific Division, No. 10 in the Western Conference, No. 21 overall
  • All-Star Team: Connor McDavid
  • Traded by deadline: Matt Hendricks, Jonas Gustavsson

I hope you enjoyed the RE series, thanks for reading. Straight ahead: The work that needs to be done between now and opening night.

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59 Responses to "THE 2016-17 EDMONTON OILERS: SLOW TRAIN COMING"

  1. frjohnk says:

    “I hope you enjoyed the RE series, thanks for reading.”

    Thank you.

    Fantastic job.

  2. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Outstanding work, as ever, LT.

  3. BONE207 says:

    LT…my friends think I am a hockey geek. On holiday in the Okanogan & reading 2-3 articles as well as the comments here. This has gone on all summer long. Crazy Man…Who mows your lawn? Thanks for your work and insight. As for the public announcer at the new rink, I think grooming for the next GM job would be more up your alley.

  4. OF17 says:

    Yes, thank you LT. Great work and great fodder for the best hockey discussions on the internet.

  5. blainer says:

    Great work LT. Thanks.

    I will not be happy if Chia is unable to add a couple of players before opening night.. especially when I believe we are so close.

    IF we stay healthy we will have a great PP with or without an addition. A vet RT shot D would be an amazing help.

    I would not be surprised to see the young’s surprise at the world cup but still expect Canada to win.

    Please no injuries to our players.

  6. Centre of attention says:

    Loved the RE in its entirety.

    I want to say you’re on the low side with the “games played” on some of the guys, because what are the odds almost our entire top 6 misses 10 games each?

    Then I stopped myself and realized I’m talking about the Oilers here, we should definitely hedge our bet on “worst case scenario” haha.

  7. russ99 says:

    Doesn’t seem realistic. We’ve only added Larsson on D, and kept pretty much the same class of poor defensive forwards save Hall with Lucic in his place – who’s not known for his d-zone play, and that results in 16 less goals against, and 27 more goals?

    I see more wins this year, pretty close to your projection, but still a negative in differential.

  8. kinger_OIL says:

    – This RE is one of the many things you do LT that really shines.

    – This year is a tough year though for doing a RE on this team, because I’m certain this isn’t the roster after the trade deadline:

    1) If they are bumping along at around .500 they are going to make a roster push to get to playoffs
    2) If they really aren’t gelling, more Steve Austins and more gutting is coming
    3) They are going to be moving heaven and earth for another bona-fide D
    4) There is some likelihood that another move is made before the start of season: lots of moving parts with this all-star game meaning lots of contacts, and still cap-issues and expansion

  9. Woodguy says:

    I hope you enjoyed the RE series, thanks for reading. Straight ahead: The work that needs to be done between now and opening night.

    Excellent work sir.

    One day I hope your re: is low and I hope that today is that day.

  10. HT Joe says:

    Thanks as always LT… your website has easily been the single best part of following the Oilers for the last many years!

  11. dessert1111 says:

    Thanks for this, LT. This fabulous series is as good as gets for Oilers entertainment in the slow summer. Love the prospect series at CoH too Bruce.

  12. rich says:

    As always, top marks and thanks for all your work LT.

  13. Woodguy says:

    russ99:
    Doesn’t seem realistic. We’ve only added Larsson on D, and kept pretty much the same class of poor defensive forwards save Hall with Lucic in his place – who’s not known for his d-zone play, and that results in 16 less goals against, and 27 more goals?

    I see more wins this year, pretty close to your projection, but still a negative in differential.

    Consider this:

    When I examined Top 4 Dmen TOI as a percentage of total available Dmen TOI I found that the average NHL team had ~52% Top 4 Dmen take up the TOI and the average playoff team had 60%.

    You can read more in my post here.

    Last year the Oiler Dcops 5v5 TOI played out like this:

    Player TOI
    ANDREJ.SEKERA 1353.24
    DARNELL.NURSE 1166.12
    MARK.FAYNE 1002.99
    ERIC.GRYBA 796.07
    BRANDON.DAVIDSON 777.24
    JUSTIN.SCHULTZ 712.33
    OSCAR.KLEFBOM 483.39
    GRIFFIN.REINHART 452.04
    JORDAN.OESTERLE 294.5
    ADAM.CLENDENING 279.84
    NIKITA.NIKITIN 155.3
    ADAM.PARDY 153.45
    BRAD.HUNT 77.77
    ANDREW.FERENCE 68.86

    The total is 7773.14 minutes.

    If we account for Klef, Sekera as Actual NHL top 4 Dmen then the Oiler percentage last year was:

    23.6%

    If you want to add Fayne it moves up to 39.4%, but I have him outside of an “Actual Top 4 NHL Dman” last year. He was much too poor against elite comp.

    I also didn’t inlcude Davidson as he was a rookie.

    I have a rookie rule that you can never include them. I didn’t include Parayko’s amazing season for STL either.

    So,

    If we have Klefbom, Larsson, and Sekera as Actual Top 4 Dmen and we can now include Davidson (assuming he continues where he left off last year, which were results above an average Top 4 Dman, especially considering his partners) then we might go from:

    Sekera
    Nurse (raw rookie, and not a good rookie season)
    Fayne
    Gryba

    As the top 4 Dmen in 5v5 TOI to:

    Klefbom
    Larsson
    Sekera
    Davidson

    Then that’s a change of monumental proportion for a team who’s main issue has been the fact that they have been bereft of Actual Top 4 Dmen since the 09/10 season.

    Here’s something to get excited for:

    Manny’s new QoC measure uses Expected Goal Share (xGF%) as the baseline measure. I like more than any other measure other there right now because xGF% seams to surround the best players better than any other measure out there.

    Its not perfect, none of them are, but its the best I’ve found.

    That said, here’s Parayko and Davidson’s xGF%QoC

    Davidson 49.92%
    Parayko 49.92%

    That means the both played almost identical group of opponents throughout the year.

    Their results?

    Relative Expected Goal Share (RelxGF%)
    Davidson +6.11
    Parayko +5.52

    Expected Goal Share
    Davidson 53.47%
    Parayko 56.19%

    We see the “good player on a good team gets hurt by relative measures and a good player on a poorer team gets boosted by relatives measures” rule in effect here, but holy moley kaboley doesn’t that get you excited to see what Davidson can do this year?

    Kid’s a player and he might be the lynchpin to making the Oiler’s Dcorps respectable instead of a Dcorpse.

    Whether at 2RD, 3LD or 3RD, this kid is going to make a difference.

    Might be the difference from making the playoffs and not.

    Note: If you argue with Klef being an “Actual Top 4 NHL Dman” then you have neither watched the games nor spreadsheets for the last 2 years.

  14. Oilspill says:

    Yawn…a top four..not a top 4..based on some twisted numbers. Come on do you really think this proves anything
    ?

  15. HT Joe says:

    Woodguy: Note: If you argue with Klef being an “Actual Top 4 NHL Dman” then you have neither watched the games nor spreadsheets for the last 2 years.

    I’m not disagreeing to be a dink or ignorant, but I would like to open the door for softening the expectations we currently have placed on Klefbom. I’m not sure anyone (other than Oilers training staff) have seen Klefbom skate since his injury and subsequent surgery. His excellent skating was a major part of his game.

    If Klef comes back from the injury, skating how he used to, then there is no doubt he is a strong top 4 D (and in my mind, he would already be a solid #2 D).

    If Klef returns from injury with substantially poorer mobility, all bets are off and he could become Whitney 2.0 (lord, I hope not!!).

    We hope for the best, but I’m going to be very nervous about Klefbom, at least until we see him play a few games at the NHL level this fall.

  16. Pretendergast says:

    Oilspill,

    No he posted it because he thinks its useless info. 🙂

    Snark aside, it is hard to deny that a dcore without Fayne, Nurse, or Gryba in the top 4 is an improvement, fair?

  17. HT Joe says:

    HT Joe,

    … and Davidson’s injury scares me too!!

  18. tarvbc says:

    LT,

    I love reading your articles and everything Inbetween. Your RE series really helps us hardcore fans through the long warm summer months but I have one problem with your thought process about UFA signings. I agree Gustavasson isn’t the most “sexy” option but what if he was Charielli 5th coveted goalie option but the first 4 all refused or wanted to much from the oilers in return, which made Chai and co uncomfortable giving. You can’t have an EA NHL 2016 mindset when it comes to signing UFA’s, meaning that as long as you give them money they will come and you get first peaking order. You have to put in account about the player, his family, his lifestyle, the money, taxes, weather, etc… For example If you were going to be paid X amount of money to write in Edmonton or Florida why would you choose Edmonton ? We have higher taxes, a lower dollar and worse weather. I’m on board with the signing of Gustavsson was weak but lets take into account maybe every other goalie option wasn’t going to work (Enroth included) and his bet was a veteran backup, not some ho-hum no name. Just my two cents.

    Love the work and keep it up!!!

  19. kinger_OIL says:

    Woodguy,

    – We know that this team hasn’t had good D, but this is too categoric: “Note: If you argue with Klef being an “Actual Top 4 NHL Dman” then you have neither watched the games nor spreadsheets for the last 2 years.”

    – His inability to play a complete season is a huge red flag, untill he completes one

    – Same with Davidson: At this point, if you pencil Davidson is as a bottom-pairing D, then give him room to grow: anything else is asking fro too much

    – Playing actual seasons isn’t a fancy stat, but it’s very important, seemingly discounted. And we would be wise to discount small sample sizes that are incomplete due to injuries that have plagued both player over many seasons.

    – Pretty massive “IF’s” to say IF Klef and Davidson stay healthy for the entire season, and IF they are able to maintain/improve on their combined 170 games of experience, they should be top-4 D.

  20. Spengler says:

    Another rather sensational series. I’ve been enjoying them for years without ever commenting. Over the years while i was overseas, this blog helped keep me stay connected to what was going on with the Oilers. But more than just that, it gave me tremendous insights into the inner workings of the application of statistical analysis to hockey and to some of the amazing characters in it.

    Cheers for everything LT. And the rest of the fine contributors here!

  21. Woodguy says:

    HT Joe: I’m not disagreeing to be a dink or ignorant, but I would like to open the door for softening the expectations we currently have placed on Klefbom.I’m not sure anyone (other than Oilers training staff) have seen Klefbom skate since his injury and subsequent surgery.His excellent skating was a major part of his game.

    If Klef comes back from the injury, skating how he used to, then there is no doubt he is a strong top 4 D (and in my mind, he would already be a solid #2 D).

    If Klef returns from injury with substantially poorer mobility, all bets are off and he could become Whitney 2.0 (lord, I hope not!!).

    We hope for the best, but I’m going to be very nervous about Klefbom, at least until we see him play a few games at the NHL level this fall.

    Sure.

    You hope everyone stays healthy.

    Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

  22. Woodguy says:

    kinger_OIL,

    I’m talking about their play, not their GP.

    You’re crystal ball is as cloudy as mine.

    Everyone went on, and, and on, and on and on and on about Hall not staying healthy and who was lead the Oilers in 5v5 TOI among forwards last year?

    Hall.

    I’m not saying they stay healthy, but braying about health doesn’t mean anything.

  23. Centre of attention says:

    Woodguy,

    It’s refreshing when someone says how they really feel.

    kinger_OIL,

    Injuries are a concern, especially with Klefbom. That being said, when he is healthy he is a top 4 D. I don’t think WoodGuy was trying to state that Klefbom/Davidson are guaranteed to play a full season, but rather he was projecting how their performance will be when they are actually on the ice by saying they will be difference makers. (and have been difference makers in the past) Does that make more sense?

  24. Lowetide says:

    tarvbc:
    LT,

    I love reading your articles and everything Inbetween.Your RE series really helps us hardcore fans through the long warm summer months but I have one problem with your thought process about UFA signings.I agree Gustavasson isn’t the most “sexy” option but what if he was Charielli 5th coveted goalie option but the first 4 all refused or wanted to much from the oilers in return, which made Chai and co uncomfortable giving. You can’t have an EA NHL 2016 mindset when it comes to signing UFA’s, meaning that as long as you give them money they will come and you get first peaking order.You have to put in account about the player, his family, his lifestyle, the money, taxes, weather, etc…For example If you were going to be paid X amount of money to write in Edmonton or Florida why would you choose Edmonton ? We have higher taxes, a lower dollar and worse weather.I’m on board with the signing of Gustavsson was weak but lets take into account maybe every other goalie option wasn’t going to work (Enroth included) and his bet was a veteran backup, not some ho-hum no name. Just my two cents.

    Love the work and keep it up!!!

    If Gustavsson is the only bet on July 1 (he signed day one) then you don’t make it. Wait until the goalies start worrying about getting a job and then get one. Goalies have very little leverage. PC signed a goalie he could have gotten in August on 1 July. I have no problem questioning the signing. None. And thanks for the kind comments!

  25. dustrock says:

    Thanks LT.

    Last year I made the mistake of getting excited.

    This year I’ll just hope for a healthy roster that can grow together.

  26. kinger_OIL says:

    Woodguy:
    kinger_OIL,

    I’m talking about their play, not their GP.

    You’re crystal ball is as cloudy as mine.

    Everyone went on, and, and on, and on and on and on about Hall not staying healthy and who was lead the Oilers in 5v5 TOI among forwards last year?

    Hall.

    I’m not saying they stay healthy, but braying about health doesn’t mean anything.

    – Your saying Klef’s top-4 based on his fancy stats. I’m saying he’s not, based on his injury past.

    – And Hall is an excellent example. If staying healthy means he goes from a PPG guy to a 65 points per year, sub-30 goal scorer, than he’s not as elite as the P/60 5 year average. The new Hall, based on last year is great, but not piss-cutter great.

    – And no one on this blog is a P.O.S…..

    – I think LT might be sending out another “One more word out of you and I’m bringing the belt” speech tonight….

  27. Lowetide says:

    Spengler:
    Another rather sensational series. I’ve been enjoying them for years without ever commenting.Over the years while i was overseas, this blog helped keep me stay connected to what was going on with the Oilers. But more than just that, it gave me tremendous insights into the inner workings of the application of statistical analysis to hockey and to some of the amazing characters in it.

    Cheers for everything LT. And the rest of the fine contributors here!

    Thanks, Spengler!

  28. G Money says:

    I’m baaaaaaaaaack from the cabin. Last visit of the summer :-(.

    I had the hard drive on random on the way back and in order it played: Dropkick Murphys, Alexisonfire, and Dream Theatre.

    I now have a green mohawk and am clad head to toe in studded leather.

    Now I’m just finishing my week 4 MongoDB exercises, which completes ‘performance’ and ‘schema design’ – the two critical ones I wanted to get done before getting back to the WoodMoney Phase 2 (WOWY and defensemen and the website).

    OK, maybe that’s phases 2, 3, and 4.

    Never let it be said that I bite off less than I can chew.

  29. kinger_OIL says:

    Centre of attention:
    Woodguy,

    It’s refreshing when someone says how they really feel.

    kinger_OIL,

    Injuries are a concern, especially with Klefbom. That being said, when he is healthy he is a top 4 D. I don’t think WoodGuy was trying to state that Klefbom/Davidson are guaranteed to play a full season, but rather he was projecting how their performance will be when they are actually on the ice by saying they will be difference makers. (and have been difference makers in the past) Does that make more sense?

    – I get what he’s saying, I disagree. Cam Neely was an awesome power-forward, and the best in the league at it for awhile. His PPG in his last 5 years was incredible. But he wasn’t even close to being the best power forward in his last 5 years, seeing as he missed well over 100 games, unless you value P/60 over actualy production, and ignore injuries over 5 years.

    – The ability to play top-4 has been established on a small sample size. But Klef isn’t a bona-fide NHL top-4 D, untill he plays a whole season, IMO….Sure he looks like one, but show me

  30. G Money says:

    Apparently I missed the end of the RE series.

    Let me add to the chorus of thank yous, the RE is really such a fantastic – and heavy – work, it is truly must read journalism.

    And I use that word in the finest old tradition, back from in the old days when I was a kid and would eagerly anticipate picking up the season preview papers for the CFL or the NHL and be able to read detailed and thorough profiles on teams and players written by dedicated professionals and really learn something.

    Such a far cry from the shlock that so much modern sports journalism has become today.

    You are the new catcher of the torch of Oiler journalism, LT, and it shows.

    Truly.

    You don’t need them from me, but nonetheless, kudos of the highest order.

  31. Centre of attention says:

    G Money,

    I like both Alexisonfire and Dream Theater a great deal. Great taste in music, sir!

  32. BornInAGretzkyJersey says:

    Yes, thanks LT for the RE series. I’ve come to enjoy them over the last few years.

    I may not always agree with your prognosis, but therein lies the point. It’s a fine point of departure for erstwhile conversation amongst adults. At a time such as this in the depths of summer, we can use all the help we can get. That you’re framing the debate, viewing the notion of a realistic expectation for the near future of our team’s vital components imposed over the backdrop of their recent history, is gold.

    Thanks again, and keep at it.

  33. Oiln5 says:

    I’ve been distant since 09.. nothing good was happening, and nothing good was coming any time soon results wise. Bandwagon fan maybe.. but now I’m feeling alone in being overly optimistic about our chances this year.

    Replacing Schultz’ minutes with Larsson will be huge. Add a healthy Klefbom, and the defense is massively improved.

    Almost certain Yak breaks out and scores 25+ with McDavid and Lucic. Second line will be strong. Third line has a chance to out perform expectations with Draisatl. 4th line won’t be giving up or producing much.

    The overall defensive improvements are far greater than the difference between Hall and Lucic. I actually expect the Oilers to make the playoffs this year. You guys are welcome to jump on board around Christmas.

  34. Lowetide says:

    Oiln5:
    I’ve been distant since 09.. nothing good was happening, and nothing good was coming any time soon results wise. Bandwagon fan maybe.. but now I’m feeling alone in being overly optimistic about our chances this year.

    Replacing Schultz’ minutes with Larsson will be huge. Add a healthy Klefbom, and the defense is massively improved.

    Almost certain Yak breaks out and scores 25+ with McDavid and Lucic. Second line will be strong. Third line has a chance to out perform expectations with Draisatl. 4th line won’t be giving up or producing much.

    The overall defensive improvements are far greater than the difference between Hall and Lucic. I actually expect the Oilers to make the playoffs this year. You guys are welcome to jump on board around Christmas.

    I agree there are many good arrows, but if anything last season taught us it was this: The Oilers were so bad that the journey to average was so very long. Here is hoping they make the playoffs!

  35. Lowetide says:

    Carolina Hurricanes invited Raffi Torres on a PTO. Interesting.

  36. Stelio Kontos says:

    Looking at the roster we should be a playoff team. I bet we finish with 73 points. The life of an Oiler fan.

  37. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Congrats on another winning series. This year is sure to put another Corgi on your mantle for best adapted screenplay for a series.

    In other news, imagine if Burt Lancaster was Burl Lancaster.

  38. Professor Q says:

    Lowetide:
    Carolina Hurricanes invited Raffi Torres on a PTO. Interesting.

    Ah, those lovely 2006 memories…

  39. Ellis says:

    If the Oilers were to somehow add another NHL centre where would you slot Draisatl? He could play RW and they could keep Puljujarvi out of the lineup for a year but the Oilers tend to rush players. Also, after last season should the Oilers keep Nurse at the NHL level?

  40. tcho says:

    LT – thanks for the RE series (again). A highlight of your blog every year, and that’s not easy to achieve. I’d echo Woodguy – I hope this is the year your RE is too pessimistic.

  41. Ellis says:

    If the Oilers were to trade Gustavsson and Hendricks by the deadline what would be the potential return for them? How would the Oilers fill the open 4th line spot?

  42. Lowetide says:

    Ellis:
    If the Oilers were to trade Gustavsson and Hendricks by the deadline what would be the potential return for them?How would the Oilers fill the open 4th line spot?

    Depth picks. 4line could be Khaira, Caggiula, any number of guys. Both veterans are free agents so there is no reason to hold back in dealing them.

  43. Ellis says:

    Thanks. This is a great blog. I like The Lowdown With Lowtide too!

  44. Diesel says:

    You rock, LT.

    I don’t have much in common with you musically, but I respect the work that goes in to the carefully crafted projections that are your RE’s as well as the depth and context you present them in.

    In an ironic twist, the fine work you do in this series is now an annual assumption and thus a rather unrealistic expectation all things considered.

  45. ~ Hall of Shame ~ says:

    Woodguy: Note: If you argue with Klef being an “Actual Top 4 NHL Dman” then you have neither watched the games nor spreadsheets for the last 2 years

    Last year he appeared in more spreadsheets than games. Hoping for a healthy year

  46. OF17 says:

    Diesel:
    You rock, LT.

    I don’t have much in common with you musically, but I respect the work that goes in to the carefully crafted projections that are your RE’s as well as the depth and context you present them in.

    In an ironic twist, the fine work you do in this series is now an annual assumption and thus a rather unrealistic expectation all things considered.

    Realistic expectations are based on established level of ability, by which metric expecting fantastic content is certainly a reasonable expectation 🙂

  47. whale says:

    Just wanted to say LT this blog is just what an Oil fan like me needs year round. Love the RE, love the verbal fights. Sometimes I’m in the middle of it (reading along) because I’m up to date in my reading. Other times I notice things seems missing, calmed down but you could tell something was on fire and such. Too bad for me I missed it.

    Anyway my point would be for you to do at a summary level of an Unrealistic Expectations. But a semi-serious give more benefit of doubt to some individuals that you think might surprise/breakout. I think this team as several players that could break out this year . More than in previous years.

  48. Gerta Rauss says:

    Thanks for the RE series LT, great stuff as always

    There’s probably enough Canadian content that you could re-visit the theme in the future and not duplicate anything.

    And you could tweak it a bit with a British Invasion or Punk theme or whatever genre of music you can think of.

    I’d like to see a Stones RE in the future-I was surprised to discover we hadn’t done the Stones yet.

  49. theDjdj says:

    G Money:
    I’m baaaaaaaaaack from the cabin.Last visit of the summer :-(.

    I had the hard drive on random on the way back and in order it played: Dropkick Murphys, Alexisonfire, and Dream Theatre.

    You fight that good Queens English fight, Gmoney!

    Looking forward to reading more of your work!

    Thanks for another great RE LT. Keeps us going through these long boring months. Also keeps us dreamers grounded and safe from the crushing disappointment of unrealised dreams (can’t kill that hope thing though, pesky little fighter)

  50. theDjdj says:

    Lowetide:
    Carolina Hurricanes invited Raffi Torres on a PTO. Interesting.

    He made his own bed, no doubting that, but I can’t help but feel a tiny bit sad for him. I recall reading an article after his suspension was finished that he was training hard every day hopeful that when he returned home somebody would have called.

    Good luck to him.

  51. PhrankLee says:

    Hi LT,

    Thanks for this year’s RE as always the best roundup in hockey. Bar none.

    In the 8-10 years I’ve been reading and commenting on this blog, since before Rikki used sentences and was suspected of being an actual bear.. I have never heard you so close to the balance picture and I agree. They are a piece, maybe 2 away.

    My expectations are also in line with yours in they are improved but not in the playoffs. My major concerns for the last 3 years has been shot dif and to a lesser, but still important degree, goal dif.

    Letting go of Hall and adding Larsson and Lucic.. I feel it falls short of the spread..didn’t Hall have some crazy shot clock like 5.8/60?

    Anyway I’d like to thank you again for shining light all the way out to Ontario where I have raised Oiler fans for the last 10 years. You are the best, my man.

  52. Yeti says:

    Great series as always! Kindest of thanks.
    I notice the lack of a link to the original Dylan song. https://vimeo.com/63508956
    That said, for fans of searing blues-rock guitars (and all that jazz), there’s this song of the same name:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJkxyh8-KVU

  53. frjohnk says:

    Another reason why this team should be better is that the majority of the core players are either still on the upside of getting into their prime or are still in their prime.

    Everybody in the McDavid cluster should be better this year compared to last year. Well, hopefully.

    The Prime Cluster has RNH, Klefbom and Larsson who are just 23 and are not at their peak. Davidson, Osterle and Kassian if healthy and committed should have better years than last year. EBERLE at 26, is just entering his prime.

    The Veteran Cluster with Lucic, Pouliot, Sekera and Maroon doesn’t have an old guy who will play big minutes. These guys are still in their prime ( at the tail end) and are not ready to fall off a cliff this year.

    Year over year, this team will have more players getting closer to their peak years/are in their peak years than there are players exiting their peak years.

    Good health and good goaltending will be key for this team to get out of the basement this year.

  54. Pouzar says:

    Well done once again LT!!!!!

  55. Water Fire says:

    Thanks again for the RE. I don’t like to see the summer go, but the summer hockey doldrums are the worst and you carry us through with your work and a place to hang out, thanks.

    The current roster is greater than the sum of it’s parts, and it has a few gems on it. I think it comes down to the goal. IF they for once get stable decent goalering the group will rise. Normal health, and Klef is back for reals would help.

    The defence has been so bad it was almost like playing one guy alone rather than a pair, and I don’t see any glaring deficiencies anymore there. Fayne is a player I’d like to see upgraded, but he can help and they can afford him playing 3rds this year. McLellan needs to be creative and needs to play guys based on merit.

    They have the horses to run two strong forward lines and a killer third if they want to. They can make the playoffs if it all breaks right for them. Luck at some point has to at least even out. It’s been a long run of tails, probability says we might get a run of heads, right? Has to hit 50% in the end?

  56. Woogie63 says:

    LT, that’s for all the work you put into the blog.

  57. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Water Fire:
    Luck at some point has to at least even out. It’s been a long run of tails, probability says we might get a run of heads, right? Has to hit 50% in the end?

    Nope. Series of independent events.

  58. G Money says:

    theDjdj,

    Sharp eye, mistre!

    Ca$h-McMoney!,

    Correct. All one can hope for is regression towards the meat.

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